When I am looking for ideas on how to cook bison, I often look to bisonbasics.com as a starting point. The way they prepare a bison burger is a simple, but flavorful way to enjoy bison in your own backyard!
A Basic Grilled Bison Burger That’s Simple and Tasty
Our Basic Burger is simply made from ground bison with some added salt and pepper. For best juiciness and flavor ground bison should be 80 to 90% lean (10 to 20% fat content). Less than 10% fat results in a less juicy, drier tasting burger. Bison burgers with more than 20% fat tend to be greasy tasting. Most ground bison used in our testing was close to 90% lean.Our preference is for freshly ground bison meat, but previously frozen ground is a very close second. Frozen ground will take about 2 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Never thaw meat at room temperature.Bison burgers are best grilled on the barbecue. Our first choice is gas, but charcoal or electric will work equally as well.
2 lbs ground bison, 80 to 90% lean, medium texture preferred 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper cooking oil (grape seed, peanut, or sunflower preferred) – DO NOT use Olive Oil*
Break the ground bison up into small chunks by hand; spread the chunks evenly over a baking sheet. Sprinkle the ground meat with salt and pepper.
Shape the seasoned ground into 5 patties measuring about 4 inches in diameter and little over and inch thick. Try not to handle the meat excessively while shaping it into burgers. Over handling or compacting raw ground can result in a cooked burger that just doesn’t have the right mouth feel to it. Density is increased and a lack of tenderness may be noticeable.
Place the bison burger patties on a baking sheet or large plate. Cover burgers loosely with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to set. (Patties can always be made well in advance.)
To be absolutely safe, it is always best to cook ground meat until it is well done-to an internal temperature of at least 160F. At that temperature bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses, such as e-coli and salmonella, are rendered harmless. Bacterial problems are however more common to large scale commercial beef and poultry processing, not the bison industry. Buying bison from a reputable supplier, or GRINDING YOUR OWN AT HOME can minimize risks associated with consuming medium-rare to medium well done burgers (135F to 155F internal meat temperature).
Like all meats, cooking bison properly is best done with the use of accurate thermometers. Grill surface thermometers (coil or laser), even an inexpensive oven thermometer; can help ensure that your burgers are being cooked in a temperature range that is ideal for ground bison.